September 14, 2008 (MOGADISHU) — Somali Islamist movement Al-Shbaab, warned they would attack planes using Mogadishu Airport saying that “American spies, the African Union, Ethiopians and the infidel government troops use the airport.”
Earlier this month, the Somali Islamists pledged more attacks against government and Ethiopian forces even during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
In a statement issued on Saturday, Shabaabul-Mujaahidiin Movement which fights the the Ethiopian backed Somali transitional government said it would target plans landing after midnight on Tuesday.
The sea-front airport located in south Mogadishu is used for government and commercial flights. African Union (AU) peacekeepers and some visiting U.N. missions also fly there. Aid groups tend to use other landing strips.
“We warn the Somali businessmen: Ethiopia gets revenue from Mogadishu airport. (AU mission) Amisom and Ethiopians also transport their injured and dead soldiers from this airport,” said the statement.
The African Union has 2,200 peacekeepers in Somalia, mainly based at the airport. They have done little to stem violence and the pan-African body wants to hand over to the United Nations.
The airport has suffered a string of attacks since Islamists launched an Iraq-style insurgency in 2007. Several times, shells have hit about the time President Abdullahi Yusuf has taken off.